November 2020

Safe and sustainable products: the message from this year’s ESF Product Safety Conference

Focusing on the evolution of product safety during a time of rapid change, the 12th annual Product Safety Conference from Electrical Safety First – entitled A Sustainable Future – highlighted how today’s products must not only be safe to use but also cyber-secure and sustainable. Hosted over two mornings this week, the first part

of the conference reviewed the relationships between sustainable products, the product lifecycle and the circular economy. In a COVID-enhanced awareness of the climate

crisis, governments are increasingly interested in the circular economy, which emphasises sustainability and safety in the product lifecycle. This was the theme of the keynote speech by Libby Peake, Head of Resource Policy, Green Alliance, the environmental think tank and charity.

Other speakers on day one included Paul Scully,

Parliamentary Under Secretary of State in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, and Graham Russell, CEO of the Office for Product Safety and Standards. Day two focussed on creative products and

emerging tech, exploring the potential ‘standards gap’ for new products, and security and safety issues

arising from a smart home. ERT Editor, Jack Cheeseman, hosted a series of

interviews around IoT-enabled smart systems and devices and how developers and regulators need to be aware of the potential issues around cyber security, interoperability and potential risks to consumer safety. The interviewees were Alan Sellers, Senior

Compliance and Approvals Manager, Dyson Technology, Kevin Sweeney, Director of Assurance at

Intertek, and Julie Hunter, Chair of the Consumer and Public Interest Network at BSI. One highlight of the second day, however, was the

announcement of the winner of Electrical Safety First’s Safety Innovation Award – the E-Bulb from JOB. Described as the smallest fire extinguisher in the world, its unique device-integrated fire protection means that a fire can be stopped at source, within the product itself, before it becomes visible – or spreads.

Black Friday 2020 to be online-first event, Amazon predicted to profit the most

Black Friday will be an online-first event for the first time in history and looks set to bolster the 2020 10-week “Mega Peak” period. In September, 67 per cent of UK consumers

planned to do their Black Friday shopping online. Now, with lockdown measures in England and physical retail stores restricted to the sale of essential items, that number is expected to be much higher this month. This is according to Wunderman Thompson

Commerce, the global eCommerce consultancy company, which also reported that the Black Friday

Swan reflects on a successful year

Home appliances manufacturer, Swan, said it has delivered an “outstanding” sales performance this year, despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This was in Swan’s latest trading statement, for

the period July to September 2020. It added that it has seen growth through all retail channels. “All five of our key categories are seeing growth,”

the company said. “Our Homewares category has seen sales more than double over the period with Retro and Nordic driving performance. It has been a

challenging year for the MDA category, however with a greatly improved stock position we are now seeing a significant recovery in sales. “The period has also seen us take a market- leading position in garment steamers.” In Floorcare, which is still a relatively new range for

Swan, the manufacturer said sales are up more than 150 per cent. “Despite a gloomy economic outlook we are

confident that we will see another year of strong growth,” the company said. “We have invested heavily

in our infrastructure, added quality to our team and have backed this with substantial commitments in stock to try to anticipate spikes in demand.” Swan said it will have new product launches early next year.

period is set to account for 43 per cent of all spending during the peak sales period. However, the company said that 65 per

cent of spend during Black Friday is predicted to be via Amazon, with its early sales campaign this year. Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and

Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said: “Those businesses that have invested in their eCommerce operations properly look set to reap the biggest rewards, while those who haven’t will struggle to compete.”


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